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Pambazuka News

Pambazuka News Pambazuka News is produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations - academics, policy makers, social activists, women's organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa.

The Inagural 2016 Pan African Colloquium, Barbados

Latest titles from Pambazuka Press

African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
Sylvia Tamale
A groundbreaking book, accessible but scholarly, by African activists. It uses research, life stories and artistic expression to examine dominant and deviant sexualities, and investigate the intersections between sex, power, masculinities and femininities
Buy now

Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

From Citizen to Refugee Horace Campbell
In this elegantly written and incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO's intervention in Libya.
Buy now

Queer African Reader

Demystifying Aid Edited by Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas
A diverse collection of writing from across the continent exploring African LGBTI liberation: identity, tactics for activism, international solidarity, homophobia and global politics, religion and culture, and intersections with social justice movements. A richness of voices, a multiplicity of discourses, a quiverful of arguments. African queers writing for each other, theorising ourselves, making our ...more
Buy now

China and Angola

African Awakening A Marriage of Convenience?
Edited by Marcus Power, Ana Alves
This book focuses on the increased co-operation between Angola and China and shows that although relations with China might have bolstered regime stability and boosted the international standing of the Angolan government, China is not regarded as a long term strategic partner.
Buy now

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

To Cook a ContinentWalter Rodney
Rodney shows how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the US, bear major responsibility for impoverishing Africa. They have been joined in this exploitation by agents or unwitting accomplices both in the North and in Africa.
Buy now

Pambazuka News Broadcasts

Pambazuka broadcasts feature audio and video content with cutting edge commentary and debate from social justice movements across the continent.

See the list of episodes.


This site has been established by Fahamu to provide regular feedback to African civil society organisations on what is happening with the African Union.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Back Issues

Pambazuka News 550: Wangari Maathai: The tree that became a forest

The authoritative electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa

Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839

CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Announcements, 3. Comment & analysis, 4. Advocacy & campaigns, 5. Books & arts, 6. Letters & Opinions, 7. African Writers’ Corner, 8. Highlights French edition, 9. Cartoons, 10. Zimbabwe update, 11. Women & gender, 12. Human rights, 13. Refugees & forced migration, 14. Africa labour news, 15. Emerging powers news, 16. Elections & governance, 17. Corruption, 18. Development, 19. Health & HIV/AIDS, 20. Education, 21. LGBTI, 22. Environment, 23. Land & land rights, 24. Media & freedom of expression, 25. Social welfare, 26. Conflict & emergencies, 27. Internet & technology, 28. eNewsletters & mailing lists, 29. Fundraising & useful resources, 30. Publications


Wangari Maathai: Reclaiming the Earth

Horace Campbell


cc G J W
‘The best tribute we can pay to this great woman of Africa is to continue to organise so that we can gain higher levels of spiritual awareness and build the shared values for peace and social justice across the planet,' writes Horace Campbell.

The trees will clap for her

Wangari Muta Maathai, 1940-2011

Nnimmo Bassey


cc N G S
Nigerian environmental activist Nnimmo Bassey remembers the life of Wangari Maathai, the internationally recognised founder of the Green Belt Movement, who died on 25 September.

Committed to justice for people and planet

Wangari Muta Maathai, 1940-2011

Margaretta wa Gacheru


cc E P
Wangari Maathai ‘achieved more in one short lifetime than most people can even contemplate,’ writes Margaretta wa Gacheru, founding ‘one of the most important environmental movements in the world’ and highlighting ‘the capacity of African rural women to problem-solve for the planet’.

Deterred by nothing, discouraged by nothing

Wangari Muta Maathai, 1940-2011

Cyril Ritchie


cc R O
Cyril Ritchie pays tribute to Wangari Maathai, her ‘contagious enthusiasm’ and ‘calming stoicism’, after 36 years of friendship with ‘an outstanding woman’.

A ‘great tree in her lifetime’

Wangari Muta Maathai, 1940-2011

Shailja Patel


cc Agencia Brasil
Wangari Maathai’s legacies ‘are not just for future generations of Kenyans – her influence was global. We have lost her far too early,’ writes Shailja Patel.

‘Africa has lost a Great Daughter’

Wangari Muta Maathai, 1940-2011

Thandika Mkandawire


cc Internews
Wangari Maathai was ‘an amazing person’, writes Thandika Mkandawire, relating a story about how Maathai defied the Kenyan government’s attempt to prevent her from attending a ‘subversive conference’ in Uganda.

'Women for whom nations will be named and re-named'

Sokari Ekine


cc Americagov
Over the past month, Kenya lost ‘two of its most formidable freedom fighters and justice seekers’ – feminist and political activist Wambui Otieno and environmental activist Wangari Maathai. Sokari Ekine looks at reactions to the passing away of these women across the continent, and to the execution of Troy Davis by the US State of Georgia a week ago.

Celebrating Professor Wangari Muta Maathai


Odhiambo Orlale


cc F Onyango
‘As we battle climate change, let us remember this remarkable woman who saw in the environmental disasters that engulf us an opportunity for the empowerment of women and the chance to promote peace in the world. We celebrate Maathai for advocating a better Africa and a better world,’ writes Odhiambo Orlale.

Mother Nature mourns your loss

Tribute to Prof. Wangari Maathai

David Njihia Mwakodi


cc Agencia Brasil
In the night of death
Our nightingale took her last breath
Hope saw a star shinning
Listening love heard the rustle of a wing
A golden heart stopped beating
And hardworking hands went to rest...

Remembering Wangari

Bayo Akomolafe


cc M R
‘Just before the stars sing, just before the childish wave wanes/You will plant another seed in the distance, another tree, another universe gained.’ Bayo Akomolafe remembers Wangari Maathai.

The best doctor for the environment

Wangari Muta Maathai, 1940-2011

Philo Ikonya


cc Meaduva
Kenya human rights activist and author Philo Ikonya shares an interview she gave to TV2Africa following the death of Wangari Muta Maathai in Nairobi after a long struggle with cancer.

Wangari Maathai: Unbowed and unbeaten till the end

My tribute to a feisty and courageous woman

Rasna Warah


cc F F
Professor Maathai was a celebrated environmentalist, but what was equally remarkable about her was ‘her open defiance of outdated, male chauvinistic, neo-colonial and repressive attitudes and traditions’ that hindered not just women, but Kenya as a whole, writes Rasna Warah.

Gay Kenya pays tribute to Prof. Wangari Maathai

Gay Kenya


cc R C
Wangari Maathai was ‘very passionate about Human Rights’ as well as the environment, and was extremely supportive of Gay Kenya in its early days, the organisation recalls.

Wangari Muta Mathaai: Share your condolences


cc R O
If you would like to write a tribute or read and share tributes to Wangari Maathai, this site was setup by the Greenbelt Movement in her honour.

Cartels chaining the global food agenda

‘BOP’ping the hungry

Carol Thompson


With their eyes firmly on the money making potential of the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) global food market, profit-seeking corporates punt food security through the enhancement of the global food value chain. But, writes Carol Thompson, this avoids distinguishing who is ‘valued’ and who is ‘chained’.

Hurry up before the sun sets…

Imrann Moosa


cc B S
Monday, 12 September marked 34 years since the assassination of South African black consciousness leader Steve Biko. Imrann Moosa remembers his legacy.

The AU, the OAU and the UNESCO-Obiang Prize

Tutu Alicante


cc Agencia Brasil
Under pressure from campaigners, UNESCO last year rightly shelved a prize for research in the life sciences funded by Equatorial Guinea’s president of 32 years, the despotic Teodoro Obiang. Given Obiang's poor human rights record, why are African governments suddenly so eager to resuscitate the award, asks Tutu Alicante.

Zimbabwe: A tale of two Chinas

Khadija Sharife


cc N D G
Khadija Sharife takes a closer look at the involvement of key players in Zanu PF’s Mugabe faction in a diamond-mining venture between the Zimbabwean government and Chinese company, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Co. Ltd.

The ties that bind: China, Angola and Zimbabwe

Khadija Sharife


cc Wikimedia
Khadija Sharife takes a look at the links between Hong-Kong-based private entity China International Fund, Angola’s state oil company Sonangol and Zimbabwe’s diamond fields.

Can Ghana afford to pay the same price as Pakistan?

Cameron Duodu


cc US Army
‘Mention South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and those with good memories can attest to the lesson of history, which is that if you want to remain friendly with the USA, keep its military at arm’s length.’ So why would Ghana risk souring its relationship with the US, as Pakistan has already done, by allowing it to use Ghanaian territory for military purposes, asks Cameron Duodu.

The new scramble for Africa

Conn Hallinan


cc C G
Hallinan traces current US foreign policy in Africa, including military intervention, to a proposal made eight years ago by a conservative think tank. Africa’s vast natural and mineral resources make the continent strategically important to the West.

The secretary-general who stood up for the UN

John Y. Jones


cc Wikimedia
The fears that former UN secretary-general Dag Hammarskjöld expressed 50 years ago about the negative impact that the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee would have on the UN and the African continent have turned out to be prescient, writes John Y. Jones.


Dear Mandela – the struggle for dignity and human rights for South Africa’s shack dwellers


Please join Amnesty International and War on Want to hear about the remarkable work of Abahlali baseMjondolo (‘people of the shacks’), a movement campaigning for the rights of many thousands of South Africans living without access to adequate housing and at risk of forced evictions.

The evening includes a a screening of the 20 minute short version of the film, Dear Mandela, the story of the emergence of Abahlali, its courageous response to the numerous challenges it has faced and its campaign against forced evictions, which led to the constitutional court victory in 2009.

VENUE: Human Rights Action Centre, 17 - 25 New Inn Yard, EC2A 3EA
DATE AND TIME: Friday 7 October 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
CONTACT: Caroline Elliot, War on Want CElliot[at]
Attn Africa Programme, Amnesty International, amnestyis[at]
BOOKING: book your space here.

Global: 2011 Right Livelihood Awards announced


The 2011 Right Livelihood jury has awarded Jacqueline Moudeina from Chad 'for her tireless efforts at great personal risk to win justice for the victims of the former dictatorship in Chad and to increase awareness and observance of human rights in Africa'. Moudeina is a lawyer who works fearlessly to bring the former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré to justice making sure that those who committed crimes do not go unpunished. At the same time, she works on a wide range of human rights issues concerning Chad today. With her commitment to justice as prerequisite for reconciliation and her dedication to intervene from the grassroots level up to international jurisdiction, she has made a prominent and crucial contribution to winning respect for human rights in Africa.

Fahamu call for research proposals

Comparative African perspectives on China and other emerging powers in Africa


China’s deepening engagement with Africa is receiving increased attention from the global media, the public and private sectors and academic research. This should not however overshadow the activities of other emerging powers in Africa, including India, Brazil and the Gulf states. This call therefore seeks to develop African perspectives in the discourse surrounding the engagement between Africa and these emerging powers. Deadline for receiving applications: 12 October 2011.

For further details please download information here.

Comment & analysis

Making the case for digital activism

Jessica Ann Mitchell


cc S C
Although Troy Davis was killed despite massive protests online, digital activism raised public awareness of racism and oppression in the US state of Georgia, writes Jessica Ann Mitchell. This case and others show that indeed digital activism works.

Advocacy & campaigns

Special Declaration of the ALBA-TCP Foreign Ministers on the Situation of Libya and Syria

Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America


The Foreign Ministers of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America has issued a statement condemning ‘the NATO intervention in Libya and its illegal military aggression, carried out under the cover of a UN Security Council resolution, opportunistically exploiting the situation of the internal political conflict in that country.’

Oxfam warns of land grab dangers



Oxfam today launched a major new report, Land and Power, to highlight the growing pace of large-scale land deals abroad, often brokered at the expense of poor communities that lose homes and livelihoods - sometimes violently - with no prior consultation, compensation or means of appeal.

By condemning people who occupy land, City of Cape Town condemns the poor

Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign


Following the City of Cape Town’s demolition of over 100 structures at Kraalfontein that had been erected by backyarders on an unused piece of land, the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign has issued a statement calling on the City to support rather than condemn the poor.

Books & arts

Brazil’s Cotton Project: Alternatives do succeed

Review of ‘Cotton, Computers and Citizenship’

David Sogge


‘For students and practitioners of hands-on development efforts, this handsomely designed and clearly written book merits attention as an illustration of what is possible, indeed what may be better done, outside the foreign aid system and its exhausted orthodoxies,’ writes David Sogge.

We got rid of the dictator, not dictatorship

Review of ‘Defeating dictators: Fighting Tyranny in Africa and Around the World’

Peter Wuteh Vakunta


Peter Wuteh Vakunta seems convinced that George B. N. Ayittey has written ‘a blueprint for oppositional militancy, a veritable modus operandi for undoing dictators in the contemporary world’. He thinks it is a must read for every student of African politics.

Letters & Opinions

Thank you for your tributes to Mama

Elizabeth SW Otieno


Warm greetings to you and all at Pambazuka. Thank you for your tributes to Mama [Wambui Otieno]. Her life and times is in our memories as a true daughter of Kenya. She lived life large, resourcefully and courageously.

African Writers’ Corner

Dekha, Wambui, Wangari

(inspired by Wambui Mwangi)

Shailja Patel


the greedy old men
live forever

the women who restore
rebuild replant
die in their fullness...

Highlights French edition

Pambazuka News 206: Africa in the face of Western domination


An appeal to the European and North American intelligentsia against the attack on the African peoples
Prince Kum’a Ndumbe III

Since the invasion of Iraq, the West has given us daily proof that it is neither interested in the common destiny of humanity nor in dialogue between peoples. Its only concern is absolute global dominance – military, financial, cultural and intellectual. Prince Kum’a Ndumbe 111 thinks, the NATO imposed war against Libya is just one more episode in the scramble for Africa.


The funding of research and alleged scientific dialogue
Prince Kum’a Ndumbe III

It is time for Africa to rearm itself in the face of the various attacks being unleashed against it by Western military powers. A key area is sovereignty over the use of its natural resources and wealth. The struggle, argues Prince Kum’a Ndumbe III, begins with the restoration and reaffirmation of our collective memories.


For the creation of a Palestinian state
Hugo Chavez

Though he was absent at the UN General Assembly during which Mahmood Abbas made his historic call for the recognition of the Palestinian state, Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez extended strong support for the initiative. In a letter to the UN Secretary General, he described it as “an act of historic justice towards a people who carry with them, from time immemorial, all the pain and suffering in the world.


Egypt – Time for the peoples revolution to open the Rafah Crossing!
Haidar Eid

Israel has not only colonised the territories, writes Haidar Eid, but it has also taken control of the “Palestinian narrative and history” and confiscated international law. The Rafah crossing, like the birth of the Palestinian state, is testimony to the injustices that continue to be inflicted on the people.


A salutary democratic revolution in the Arab world or the first major social crisis of globalisation?
Patrice Allard

Whether they are called the Arab Spring or ‘salutary revolutions’, the uprisings that have shaken the Arab world and ousted some dictatorial regimes appear to herald the dawn of a new day. But fundamental questions remain behind what the West describes as the opening of a new chapter.



Mama Wangari Maathai




Wangari Maathai remembered.

Giving African strong men a bad name!



Zambia's Banda lets the side down...

Clinging on to power, African style



Looking for a role model? Take your pick.

Zimbabwe update

Zimbabwe: Army ready to crush any revolt, says defence boss


Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has vowed to crush any possible revolt against President Robert Mugabe’s continued rule. He dismissed as wishful thinking suggestions that Zimbabweans could stage an uprising similar to those that rocked North Africa recently. He said Zimbabwe’s all-weather friends, China and Russia, stood ready to aid the ZDF to crush its enemies.

Zimbabwe: Woza seeks closure of police station


Leading local women activists have filed an urgent application with the High Court seeking the closure of police holdings cells at the Harare Central Police Station they deem inhuman and inhabitable. The Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), which has won several international human rights awards, want the court to order responsible authorities to ensure that the police holding cells at Harare Central Police Station have clean and salubrious flushing toilets with toilet paper and a washing bowl. The application was filed by WOZA leaders Jenny Williams, her deputy Magondonga Mahlangu, Clara Majengwa and Celina Madukani.

Zimbabwe: ZANU PF youths convicted over murder of MDC-T activist


Four ZANU PF youths were convicted and sentenced to 18 years in jail over the 2009 murder of MDC-T activist Moses Chokuda. Farai Machaya, the son of Midlands Provincial Governor Jason Machaya, together with his co-accused Abel Maphosa and brothers Edmore and Bothwell Gana, were all found guilty during a week-long trial at the High Court. Tawengwa Chokuda, the victims father said: 'The way he (Moses) was killed was ruthless. He was beaten to death, tied with ropes and dragged like an animal.'

Women & gender

Africa: Enhancing women's dignity video


TrustAfrica has produced a video on their Enhancing Women's Dignity project, which seeks to stop gender violence and increase women’s political participation in seven French-speaking countries in Central and West Africa. The film was shot on-location in several of the project countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Mali, where it documents the activities of women who are leading the way to improve their socio-economic conditions and increase their political representation.

Cameroon: Multiple health problems caused by breast ironing


Breast ironing is a traditional ritual in which, by using heated and flat objects, a girl's growing breasts are pressed in order to suppress and reverse their development. 'Breast ironing has existed as long as Cameroon has existed,' says Sinou Tchana, Cameroonian gynaecologist and vice-president of the Cameroonian Association of Female Doctors. In the early nineties, when her association started touring the ten regions of Cameroon to find out what practices could have been affecting female sexuality, they were shocked by the prevalence of breast ironing in most parts of the country.

Egypt: Women ignored in post-revolution politics


Thousands of Egyptian women fought in the 18-day uprising that unseated longtime President Hosni Mubarak. At least 15 women died in the uprising, according to official figures. Hundreds were wounded. And still, complain prominent Egyptian feminists, women are being sidelined from post-Mubarak politics: their names ignored for government posts, and their divorce and custody rights threatened by a powerful new Islamist lobby.

Global: Narrowing gender gaps enhances productivity


Countries that provide better opportunities for women can raise overall productivity, make institutions more representative and advance development prospects, according to a World Bank report. Focusing on gender equality and development, the 'World Bank Development Report 2012' found that countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have made rapid progress in enhancing women’s education, longevity and lowering fertility levels. Still, there are several fundamental problems that must be addressed.

South Africa: Feminist tech exchange builds partnerships


From the 18 - 20 July 2011, the first Southern African Regional Feminist Tech Exchange (FTX) was hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa, by JASS (Just Associates) Southern Africa and Women’s Net. The Feminist Tech Exchange, organised under the Building Women’s Collective Power partnership, brought nine women’s rights activists from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe together to share and build knowledge and skills on communication and ICTs from a feminist perspective. The exchange was convened as a way to strengthen women’s collective organising power through the use of ICTs.

Tanzania: Why land grabbing Is detrimental to women


During the Gender Festival Week in Dar es Salaam recently, activists expressed their concern about the impact of selling or leasing large arable land to foreign multinational companies and governments will derail efforts to empower women and promote gender equality, reports Tanzania Daily News. 'As the country strives to empower women, it's obvious that the issue of land grabbing will impact heavily on women's well-being particularly girl child as usually at the end there will be winners and losers. In this case, women and their girl children are likely to lose.'

Human rights

Côte d'Ivoire: Reconciliation commission gets going


Côte d'Ivoire is due to swear in its Truth, Reconciliation and Dialogue Commission, aimed at forging unity after deadly violence that followed last year's disputed elections. About 3,000 people were killed and 500,000 displaced in the unrest. The commission is headed by former Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny.

DRC: Maintaining victims' faith in justice


Sometime in the next two months, activists and survivors of horrific violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo will find out if Callixte Mbarushimana will stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Mbarushimana is the executive secretary of the FDLR - the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda – a rebel movement which has operated in the eastern part of the DRC since 2005. The prosecution alleges that he directed FDLR fighters to murder, torture and rape civilians in the provinces of North and South Kivu in 2009, as a strategy to strengthen the rebel movement's hand in negotiations with the Rwandan government. Judges will confirm or reject each of eleven charges before the end of November.

Equatorial Guinea: Ten reasons why UNESCO should cancel the Obiang prize

Angela Stuesse


UNESCO is considering the implementation of a highly controversial international prize that would lend credibility to one of the world’s most ruthless leaders. Angela Stuesse explains what the issues are and how you can take action to stop the prize.

Eritrea: New briefing on missing political prisoners


In September 2001, President Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea ordered the detention of 21 senior government members and journalists who criticised him and his government. Since then, he has closed all independent media outlets and turned Eritrea into a country where arbitrary arrest, torture, disappearance, and death are rife and where it is almost impossible to leave. This Human Rights Watch paper, 'Eritrea: 10 Long Years, A Briefing on Eritrea’s Missing Political Prisoners', outlines what is known about the political prisoners, none of whom has been seen by outsiders since being detained.

Global: Concern over ICC Funding


International justice advocates are worried that donors will deprive the International Criminal Court (ICC) of sufficient funding next year, hindering the court’s ability to fulfil an expanding mandate that will stretch from Kenya to Libya and potentially Ivory Coast. In late July, the court proposed a 2012 budget of 159.45 million dollars, an increase of 13.6 percent over 2011. Even before the proposal was submitted, however, key donors were issuing calls for zero growth in the court’s budget.

Global: Japan to offer products from disaster areas


Japan's Foreign Ministry hopes to use products from the country's northeast that was hit by the March 11th quake and tsunami to aid developing countries. The Foreign Ministry filed a budget request worth more than 220 million dollars with the government, which is working on a third supplementary budget bill for fiscal 2011. The Ministry says it wants to use part of the requested budget, worth about 65-million dollars, to buy industrial products, including wheelchairs, and marine food products made in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures, to provide them free of charge to developing countries.

Global: Manufacturing the homegrown threat in the US


Since 11 September 2001, the US government has targeted Muslims in the United States by sending paid, untrained informants into mosques and Muslim communities. This practice has led to the prosecution of more than 200 individuals in terrorism-related cases. The government has touted these cases as successes in the so-called war against terrorism. This report from the NYU School of Law Center for Human Rights and Global Justice examines three high-profile terrorism prosecutions in which government informants played a critical role in instigating and constructing the plots that were then prosecuted. In all three cases, the FBI or New York City Police Department (NYPD) sent paid informants into Muslim communities or families without any particularised suspicion of criminal activity.

Kenya: Civil society attacks spy bill


Civil society has criticised the proposed National Intelligence Service Bill which allow security agents to tap telephone conversations. Kenya National Commission for Human Rights (KNCHR) commissioner Omar Hassan and human rights activist Al Amin Kimathi vowed to lobby different organisations and the government to amend the Act before it is tabled in Parliament. The activists said the Bill will infringe on people’s privacy as it not only allows government agencies to record one’s conversation, but it also empowers police to invade a private house in search of information.

Kenya: Hague trials signal for Kenya to end impunity


After losing its application challenging the admissibility of the post election violence cases at the International Criminal Court, Kenya must now submit itself fully to the jurisdiction of the court at The Hague, says this East African article. 'However, questions are arising on whether the ongoing confirmation hearings at The Hague are enough to stop election-related chaos that have been experienced intermittently since 1992.'

Libya: Concerns over ethnic cleansing


Human Rights Investigations says it has grave concerns, not only for dark-skinned people in Libya generally, but also for pro-Gaddafi tribes including the Gaddafa and al-Meshashyas. 'We also have particular concern for the Tuareg of southern Libya who are being accused of being "mercenaries" and under attack from NATO and rebel forces. But the greatest concern is perhaps for the Tawergha.'

Nigeria: Corporations and human rights abuses in the Niger Delta


Shell fuelled human rights abuses in Nigeria by paying huge contracts to armed militants, according to a new report published by Platform and a coalition of NGOs. 'Counting the Cost' implicates Shell in cases of serious violence in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta region from 2000 to 2010. The report uncovers how Shell’s routine payments to armed militants exacerbated conflicts, in one case leading to the destruction of Rumuekpe town where it is estimated that at least 60 people were killed. According to Platform’s report, Shell continues to rely on Nigerian government forces who have perpetrated systematic human rights abuses against local residents, including unlawful killings, torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

Northern Uganda: Justice and reconciliation policy briefs available


The Justice and Reconciliation in Africa programme at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation has recently released four new policy briefs, together with the Justice and Reconciliation Project. The briefs focus on Northern Uganda, as the region tries to recover after more than two decades of war.

Rwanda: France rejects Rwandan extradition request


A French appeals court has ruled against extraditing the wife of Juvenal Habyarimana, Rwanda's former president, home to stand trial in connection with the African nation's 1994 genocide. Agathe Habyarimana has been wanted in Kigali by the Rwandan state prosecutor since 2009 on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for her alleged role in the Rwandan genocide. The massacre was sparked by the death of her husband, whose plane was shot down in the same year.

South Africa: Tutu slams government over Dalai Lama visa


Desmond Tutu has accused the government of dragging its feet over the visa application of the Dalai Lama, who has been invited to attend the former archbishop's 80th birthday party. Tutu invited the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader and fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate to give a lecture as part of his 80th birthday celebrations next month but officials have so far failed to react to the visa application. In 2009, Tutu criticised a decision to bar the Dalai Lama from attending a peace conference in Johannesburg, with the government saying that it did not want to jeopardise relations with key trade partner China.

Refugees & forced migration

Africa: Statelessness in the Horn of Africa


Across Africa, citizenship is being manipulated and restricted to deny rights to those whom a state wishes to marginalise or exclude, begins the abstract to this article, in reference to Ethiopia and Eritrea. 'While much was made of the expulsions at the time, the wider issues raised by these actions – in particular the continued vulnerability of the deportees to further abuses and the failure of the courts to address their situation – has not been examined. This article begins by looking at events in the Horn before examining evidence regarding the inability of those who were expelled to obtain asylum.'

Ghana: Mystery camp deaths leave Ivorian refugees in fear


Already struggling with the realities of being displaced, Ivorian refugees in Ghana are now faced with another problem: That of ex-combatants living amongst them and said to be fomenting discontent, including through holding secret meetings. Two mysterious deaths have already been linked to the former fighters, although Ghanaian police say they are investigating the circumstances under which they died.

Global: UNHCR extends cessation clause implementation


The United Nations Agency for Refugees has extended the implementation of the cessation clause to 30 June next year. The clause was supposed to be implemented on 31 December this year. The UNHCR cessation clause stipulates that a person recognised as a refugee, will either voluntarily return to the country of origin or apply for residence in the host country. The clause, does not allow claims for refugee status after verification by the agency that there are no conditions in the country of origin that qualify for UN protection.

Libya: EU 'shamefully' fails to aid stranded refugees


A new report by the London-based Amnesty International has slammed the European Union for 'shamefully' failing to help thousands of refugees stranded near Libya’s borders. In a report titled, 'Europe, Now It Is Your Turn to Act', Amnesty International has strongly criticised EU governments for failing to offer resettlement to an estimated 5,000 refugees – who would face persecution or conflict if returned to their own countries.

Sudan: Southern Kordofan refugees still vulnerable


Thousands of people who fled insecurity in Sudan's Southern Kordofan State to neighbouring South Sudan's Unity State remain vulnerable, amid humanitarian access and security concerns, says the UN. 'People entering the area are reported to be highly vulnerable, some having walked with children for two weeks,' said Siddartha Shrestha, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) South Sudan chief of communication. At present, about 9,200 people have been registered, states a recent report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Sudan: Thousands of Darfur IDPs, refugees return home


The relative calm recently witnessed in the region of Darfur has encouraged thousands of internally-displaced persons and refugees to embark on the journey back home, according to a PANA report here. Since the beginning of the year, over 10,000 refugees and internally-displaced persons have returned to West Darfur state, some 40 km west of the regional capital of Genaina, near the borderline with Chad, the Sudanese Commissioner for Refugees, Dr. Mohamed Ahamed Al Aghbash, told the official Sudan news agency (SUNA).

Tanzania: Mixed responses to mixed migration in Africa


Abdul worked as a journalist in Somalia before death threats from Al-Shabab militia drove him to leave his native country and head for Mozambique where friends told him he would receive help at Maratane refugee camp in Nampula Province. The boat he boarded in Mombasa had 110 other passengers. Now Abdul and his fellow passengers are all being detained in the same prison in southern Tanzania. Neither the Mozambican police who arrested them in the northern town of Palma and then violently deported them to the Tanzanian border, nor the immigration officials who found them there attempted to determine which of the migrants were asylum-seekers entitled to receive protection and assistance, and which were economic migrants subject to immigration laws.

Africa labour news

Botswana: Unions fight government in court


Botswana labour unions have asked a court to force the government to reinstate about 2 600 public service workers fired during the country's first national strike in April. 'Our comrades were participating in a legal strike and the government has no right to dismiss them, hence the decision to seek court's intervention,' said Andrew Motsamai, president of Botswana Public Employees Union. The workers, including doctors and nurses, were fired after the state won a court order forcing them to return to work, after they embarked on the nationwide mass action over wages.

Global: Trade unions and the global crisis


Four years after the Great Recession, a catastrophe has been avoided, but few real lessons have been drawn and nothing has been fixed, says this report from the International Labour Organisation. 'Indeed, in many cases the crisis is being used as another opportunity to subordinate individual workers, governments and entire societies to the sway of unaccountable global capital markets. After a short revival of corporatist social dialogue in some countries, more workers are being pushed into precarious employment, and austerity packages are making working people, their families and pensioners pay for the crisis.'

Emerging powers news

Latest edition: emerging powers news roundup


In this week's edition of the Emerging Powers News Round-Up, read a comprehensive list of news stories and opinion pieces related to China, India and other emerging powers...

Zambia: Chinese mine gives workers 85% raise


Following the election victory last week of Michael Sata, an outspoken critic of Chinese labour abuses in Zambia’s mining industry, Christian Science Monitor reports that one Chinese mine has given employees a sudden 85 per cent pay raise. It appears that the company prepared two different sets of paychecks, to be issued according to the election results.

Elections & governance

Angola: Growing protests alarm leader


Political tensions are rising in Angola, where a small but increasingly vocal group of protesters are rattling the cage of the ruling party ahead of elections planned for next year. The main driver behind the protests is unhappiness that, despite Angola's enormous oil wealth and post-war economic boom, two thirds of people still struggle in grinding poverty, many without running water and electricity, reports the BBC.

Cameroon: Opposition leader put under house arrest


Police are preventing the man chosen by a group of Southern Cameroon separatists living abroad to lead the 'Home Front' in their struggle for a separate state for English-speaking Cameroonians, from leaving his home. Mola Njoh Litumbe issued a statement in which he declared: 'Comrades, having failed to locate my driver to take me to the Police Station where some of our compatriots are detained, or to the Nigerian Consulate where others are camped, I attempted to drive the car out myself and was met by a strong police contingent outside my gate who stopped me from leaving my premises, alleging that they were on orders to keep me under house arrest, on orders from the Governor of the South-West Region.'

DRC: No united opposition


'For the past several months, Congolese newspapers, chat rooms and listservs have resonated with discussions about the divided opposition,' writes Mvemba Dizolele on 'Starting in February, when only Etienne Tshisekedi and Vital Kamerhe had declared their intents to run, Congolese have expected the opposition to come together and fight incumbent Joseph Kabila as a united front. Now that more contenders have joined the fray, the need for a united opposition is more pressing, as no party can win alone.'

Egypt: Parliamentary vote starts 28 November


Egypt's parliamentary election will start on 28 November, a military source said, launching the process of handing back power to civilian rule nine months after President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising. The source, who declined to be identified, said the military council has issued a decree inviting candidates to start registration for the elections for the upper and lower houses of parliament starting on 12 October.

Guinea: Three die as police break up protest


In the run-up to parliamentary elections, due to be held in December, at least three protesters were killed in the Guinean capital, Conakry, when security forces broke up an opposition demonstration. Police used tear gas and batons against the stone-throwing protesters. Dozens of police vehicles and paramilitary forces prevented opposition activists from reaching a stadium.

Sierra Leone: Opposition condemns ban on political activities


The Opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has condemned a police ban on political activities in the country, threatening to paralyse operations of the parliament if the police fail to withdraw it. The opposition argues that the police have no legal authority to take such decisions.

South Africa: Denial over police chief suspension


The presidency has dismissed reports of the imminent suspension of police commissioner Bheki Cele. The Sunday Times reported that the president was about to send a final letter of suspension to Cele, seen as a once trusted political ally now fighting for his job, despite success in reducing crime rates. According to the newspaper he would be barred from office while a board of inquiry investigated his role in the police's R1.7 billion lease deals for new headquarters, which the public protector had deemed unlawful.

Zambia: Starting life under a new leader


Zambians have started life under newly elected President Michael Sata who was inaugurated on 23 September 23, three days after the elections which ended 20 years of rule by the MMD government. Netizens on various social network platforms have expressed different views on the inauguration and the new presidency, reports Global Voices. Commenting on Rupiah Banda’s concession speech in which he said past presidents should be treated with respect and humility, Kasololo Chisenga, posted on Zambian Peoples Pact Facebook group: 'Do you agree that if wrong things happened in RB government we should just forget about them or should we make sure wrong things are exposed and corrected?'


Egypt: Ex-minister gets seven years for corruption


A Cairo court has sentenced the former information minister to seven years behind bars and the former head of state TV to five years on corruption charges. Judge Abdallah Abul Hashem ordered ex-information minister Anas al-Fikki jailed for seven years 'for squandering public money'. Osama el-Sheikh, head of the Egyptian Television and Radio Union, was sentenced to five years on similar charges in a case involving the purchase of soap operas at inflated prices.


Africa: Africa challenged to come up with indigenous philosophy of development


Africa needs to come up with an indigenous philosophy of development determined and influenced by the mores of traditional values derived from its own linguistic and cultural repertoire, a university lecturer from the department of African Languages and Literature, University of Zimbabwe, has said. Angeline Masowa, who spoke on Friday at a Conference on African Renaissance, Integration, Unity and Development in Pretoria, South Africa noted that the western model of development posed as the benchmark, which every nation wishing to be regarded as developed, had to follow, with the requirements of development dictated by the west.

Africa: Africa faces 'considerable risks' from global downturn


African economies face considerable risks from a renewed global economic downturn, African finance ministers told a Washington news briefing. They added that the continent’s economies are still on the recovery path from the previous global crisis and are in the process of restoring critical economic buffers. The ministers also stressed that Africa was bracing for adverse effects from the economic problems in the euro zone, with export receipts and remittances particularly vulnerable. They noted that, as a new global downturn threatened, African countries were more interconnected than ever before with their neighbors and with their principal markets.

Africa: Energy future heading down a dark tunnel


The Conference of Energy Ministers in Africa – a two-year old institution recognised by the African Union and donors as the official voice of Africa's energy future – recently met for the second time and released a new declaration that can fairly be called double-speak, according to International Rivers.'The first half of the declaration is so great, it could have been written by a Nelson Mandela of energy. It outlines the brutal reality of Africa's energy poverty and the goals for universal access to sustainable energy across Africa by 2030. So why are the energy ministers calling for projects set to benefit one of the world's wealthiest corporations rather than the continent's own citizens? At the top of the plan's $19 billion list of 14 “Priority Projects” is Inga 3, a hydropower mega-project that would power a massive aluminum smelter to be built by BHP Billiton.'

Africa: World Bank policies 'enabling' African land grab


New research accuses the World Bank Group's policies of facilitating land grabs in Africa and favouring the interests of financial markets over food security and environmental protection. Agriculture and the food crisis were a high-profile agenda topic at the recent World Bank annual meetings, and critical voices are growing on the Bank's approach to food price volatility. Recent in-depth research by the US-based Oakland Institute raises further difficult questions on agriculture policy for Bank officials.

Global: Emerging economies to bail out EU


South Africa could be paying 'a couple of hundred million US dollars' towards a rescue package for troubled euro zone countries, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said. Gordhan told journalists at a press conference in Pretoria, on his return from the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, that there had been a general recognition that 'we’re all in it together and everyone has to make a contribution to the solution'.

Global: Karl Marx and the global economic meltdown


Blog Africa is a Country explores how the debate about Karl Marx's economic theories is entering the mainstream. 'The mainstream (media, experts, free market boosters, etcetera) and rightwingers who usually operate in delusional essentialisms (capitalism eventually works for all of us; if you’re poor, or fail, it’s your own fault; the world’s resources will never run out; trade unions hold people back, etcetera), are second-guessing themselves. In a strange twist, they've taken to reading Karl Marx’s critiques of capitalism to make sense of the global economic meltdown.'

Global: Move beyond coal, now!


The Sierra Club and Bank Information Center are releasing a new report describing the daily realities of coal impacted communities from Cirebon, Indonesia, the Konkan coast and Kutch India, Inner Mongolia China, Appalachia USA, New South Wales Australia, and Limpopo South Africa. These stories paint an illuminating picture of an industry that brings toxic pollution, corruption, intimidation, poverty, and destruction to local societies.

Global: New global economic crisis worries East African Community


Tanzania has said should the world experience a second economic downturn, the impact on East African Community (EAC) countries would be more telling as the economies of the five partner states were more interconnected than never before. The Minister for Finance, Mr Mustafa Mkulo told a sideline session of the 2011 IMF-World Bank annual meeting in Washington DC that shocks for Africa, especially the EAC members from a new economic downturn would be worse than in last crisis. He recalled that three years ago Africa was hit hard by the global economic crisis as exports dropped and financial flows declined.

Health & HIV/AIDS

DRC: Hard to save all women suffering from fistula


'Every quarter, more than a hundred women with fistulas - including many younger than 20 years old - are admitted for surgery in Maniema province,' says nurse Julie Mawazo. 'The number of affected women who don't have the means or awareness to come in must be far greater.' Each year, sexual violence, early marriage and complications in childbirth lead to some 12,000 recorded cases of vaginal fistulas - in which a hole develops between either the rectum and vagina or between the bladder and vagina - according to the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ministry of Public Health.

Ghana: Hospital turns back patients amid doctor shortage


A general hospital in a port city in Ghana has driven away patients, including pregnant women, due to a shortage of doctors since last Sunday. A notice posted on the walls of the general hospital in Tema asked clients seeking medical attention to visit other hospitals for their own safety as a result of the shortage of doctors in the hospital, especially at the maternity ward.

Global: The most polluted cities in the world


In many cities air pollution is reaching levels that threaten people's health, according to an unprecedented compilation of air quality data released by the World Health Organisation. The information includes data from nearly 1,100 cities across 91 countries, including capital cities and cities with more than 100,000 residents. WHO estimates more than two million people die every year from breathing in tiny particles present in indoor and outdoor air pollution. In both developed and developing countries, the largest contributors to urban outdoor air pollution include motor transport, small-scale manufacturers and other industries, burning of biomass and coal for cooking and heating, as well as coal-fired power plants.

Kenya: Medics overwhelmed as dengue fever spreads


An outbreak of dengue fever in Mandera, northeastern Kenya, is spreading fast, with at least 5,000 people infected within weeks, due to limited health facilities, a shortage of medical personnel and poor sanitation, officials told IRIN. With only one public hospital and a few private clinics, medical officials in the town - which borders Ethiopia and Somalia - said the facilities were congested with dengue fever patients and they were unable to cope.

Madagascar: Leprosy making a comeback


A surge in new leprosy cases in a remote region of Madagascar could not have come at a worse time. Once a prosperous vanilla-exporting town, Antalaha has suffered the economic consequences of two years of political instability that began with the March 2009 coup in which Andry Rajoelina, with the support of the military, deposed President Marc Ravalomanana. Numerous foreign aid and trade benefits on which the country was heavily reliant, particularly for the funding of social sectors, have since been suspended.

Senegal: 'Small revolution' in family planning


Senegalese families are spacing their children, having fewer, and as a result are increasingly searching for long-term family planning solutions, said Fatou Seck, a midwife at the hospital. While in 1990 the average woman in Senegal had 6.7 children in her reproductive cycle; in 2009 when the latest statistics were made available, they had 4.8, according to the Health Ministry.

Sierra Leone: At a crossroads

Sierra Leone's free health care policy


Pregnant women and girls in Sierra Leone continue to face serious challenges in accessing drugs and medical care that are crucial to ensure safe pregnancy and childbirth, says this Amnesty International report. 'Over the last two years the Government of Sierra Leone has introduced various initiatives to address these challenges, including some welcome steps to increase women's access to health services and reform of the health workforce. In April 2010 the government launched a major initiative to provide free care to pregnant women and girls. However, much remains to be done.'

Sierra Leone: Cuban medics to help health sector


Sierra Leone will benefit from medical expertise from Cuba in an agreement negotiated with South Africa's help. According to the agreement, a total of 32 Cuban medical specialists in various categories will be sent to Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone Government approached South Africa a few years ago, through the Foreign ministry, then headed by current minister of Health and Sanitation Aja Zainab Hawa Bangura, to help solve health problems caused by the 'acute shortage' of staff.

South Africa: Criminalising sex is not the answer


Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi is set to meet justice ministry officials to rectify what his office terms 'contradictions' in the Sexual Offences Act of 2007 and the Children's Act of 2005. One law makes it legal for children of 12 and older to access contraceptives, and the other criminalises sex for youngsters of that age. Recently, children's rights activists were outraged when it emerged that National Prosecution Authority head Menzi Simelane had used the Act to authorise the prosecution of at least two groups of children between the ages of 12 and 16 for having consensual sex.


Benin: Campaign unveiled to keep children in school


Benin has launched a major campaign to arrest growing drop-out rates as schools begin a new term. The one-year campaign is expected to encourage parents to allow their children to stay enrolled in school. With a national enrolment rate of 87.3 per cent, Benin has an impressive record. But it has been difficult to keep the children in school, watering down the gains.

Morocco: School year begins with controversy


Over six million Moroccan children set off to schools a few days ago. This year, the beginning of the school term was accompanied with lively debates over the future of the kingdom's state education system. Moroccans have voiced little confidence in state education and are critical of both teachers and the government's strategy in this sector.

Nigeria: Strike cripples varsities


There was total compliance 26 September to the one-week nationwide warning strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, disrupting examinations in the nation's premier university, University of Ibadan, University of Jos and paralysing academic activities in others. The warning strike is in protest against Federal Government's alleged refusal to implement the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement which will be due for re-negotiation in six months. The agreement, among others include 26 per cent funding of education, wage improvement and upward review of retirement age of professors from 65 to 70 years.


Kenya: LBTI women’s rights exhibition in Nairobi


The Girl Art Project is a one of a kind exhibition in Nairobi running from 18 October to 8 November, 2011 at the Godown Arts Centre. It is a joint project between two groups MWA, Minority Women in Action which advocates for LBTI women’s rights and AFRA-Kenya (Artists for Recognition and Acceptance – an organization of Lesbian Bisexual and Trans Women) through the support of UHAI-EASHRI, the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative. The theme of the exhibition is inspired by the female form, presence and experience.

Nigeria: New bill prohibiting same sex marriage before parliament


For the third time in five years the Nigerian parliament is considering a law seeking to prohibit same sex marriage after a new bill was presented to the House. The Nigeria government has been seeking to further criminalise same-sex relations in Nigeria through the prohibition of same-sex marriage since 2006.


Africa: 'We Expect the Polluters to Pay'


'Africa wants an outcome based on science that is fair and honours the promises all countries have made in the UN Climate Convention and its Kyoto Protocol. We need to agree to global reductions for 2050 that limit warming to well below the predicted 1.5 degrees Celsius in Africa.' This is according to Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, who will lead the negotiations on behalf of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) at the United Nations climate change conference later this year. He was interviewed by IPS.

Burkina Faso: Bonuses help reforestation take root


This year Fatimata Koama and her associates received more than half a million CFA francs as a reward for planting - and looking after - 1,200 trees in their small corner of Burkina Faso. Magoulé's payout – equivalent to about 1,200 dollars – is just part of more than 100,000 dollars disbursed over the past two years as a strategy to strengthen reforestation efforts, according to environmental group SOS Sahel and the Burkina Ministry of the Environment.

Global: Biofuels production surges


Global production of biofuels increased 17 per cent in 2010 to reach an all-time high of 105 billion liters, up from 90 billion litres in 2009. High oil prices, a global economic rebound, and new laws and mandates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, and the United States, among other countries, are contributing to the surge in production, according to research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute’s Climate and Energy Program for the website Vital Signs Online.

Global: Global CO2 emissions reach all-time high


Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reached an all-time high in 2010, rising 45 per cent in the past 20 years. Rising rapidly between 1990 and 2010, global atmospheric CO2 levels totaled 33 billion metric tons last year, according to a report published by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Global CO2 emissions fell one per cent in 2009, during the Great Recession, but rose at an unprecedented five per cent rate in 2010.

South Africa: Big polluters should 'stay home' from climate conference


In order for global climate change policies and efforts to progress, intense local activism and countries most adversely affected by climate change must play a leading role. If they don't, an upcoming meeting of state parties to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) in South Africa will be a conference of 'paralysis' and 'profiteers', says Patrick Bond, climate justice expert and author of the book 'Politics of Climate Justice' coming out in November.

Land & land rights

Guinea: Rights groups denounce attack on Saoro farmers


Rights groups in Guinea have denounced the action of security forces against the inhabitants of a village more than one hundred kilometers south of the capital, Conakry. Lawyers Without Borders and the Equal Rights for All say they are disappointed with the government over the alleged attacks by gendarmes and army troops against inhabitants of the Saoro village over a land dispute with the Soguipah Company. The land conflict started in 2003 following a presidential decree allocating 2,000 hectares of land in Saoro village to the Company.

South Africa: Land reform green paper gets the thumbs down


South Africa's Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has released a green paper on land reform, but the paper has been described as a 'great disappointment' by Andries Du Toit from the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies. 'After more than two years of vacillation and evasion since President Zuma’s announcement of the need for a new policy framework, the Ministry has produced a document that provides almost no guidance on any of the crucial questions facing land and agrarian reform in South Africa. It fails to offer any serious proposals for public debate on what the alternatives are to scale up land reform. It is bafflingly slight, weighing in at no more than eleven pages. It is in fact surprising that the Ministry is willing to release such an insubstantial and vague document at all.'

Zimbabwe: Land reform blog


This website presents material linked to an on-going research project in Masvingo province in the south-east of the country. This has involved a detailed study of what happened to people’s livelihoods after land reform, across 16 land reform sites and 400 households.

Zimbabwe: Voices from the field

New series of short films


Zimbabwe's political crisis continues. Yet with the stabilisation of the currency and the overhaul of some key economic policies, the agricultural economy in particular has begun to recover. IDS research has been tracking what has been happening in one province since 2000, looking at the changing livelihood prospects of those who gained land in Zimbabwe’s controversial 'fast track' land reform programme. A series of short films have been released which provide insights into what is happening on the ground, by offering some voices from the field. Following an overview film, each of the films in the series provides a profile of a particular farm family, exploring how they have invested in the land and their visions for the future.

Media & freedom of expression

Egypt: Flutter over Egypt twitter case


The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information has strongly condemned the ongoing deterioration of freedom of opinion and expression in Egypt. This follows news that Dr.Tarek Zidan, head of the 'Egypt Revolution Party' has proceeded with a criminal lawsuit no. 13846 for the year 2011 against Asmaa Mahfouz, accusing her of insulting and defaming him via her twitter account by posting false news about him.

Eritrea: Journalists face threats in covering Isaac imprisonment


A Sweden-based journalist was publicly threatened in connection with her reporting on the case of Dawit Isaac, a Swedish-Eritrean journalist who has been imprisoned in Eritrea for a decade without charge, according to news reports and CPJ interviews. A day earlier in New York, bodyguards for the Eritrean leader Isaias Afewerki pushed and threatened two Swedish journalists seeking to speak to the president about the Isaac case, the journalists said.

Global: Arab spring reporters honoured


'Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) proudly recognizes Khaled al-Hammadi (Yemen) and Mohamed Abdelfattah (Egypt) as this year’s recipients of the 2011 International Press Freedom Awards. The awards will be presented at the 14th annual CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Courageous Reporting, to be held at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto on Thursday, November 24, 2011. These two journalists were chosen for their passion for free expression and their extraordinary courage. They did not let the many dangers they faced prevent them from working to expose the real story of what was taking place during the events we now call the Arab Spring.'

Global: Freedom House releases report on growing challenges to internet freedom


Even before the Arab Spring had shown the power of the internet to accelerate the free flow of news and views and to bring like-minded citizens together to mobilize for change, authoritarian regimes had introduced extensive controls over digital media. Authoritarian regimes had built pervasive, multilayered systems for online censorship and surveillance. These systems have grown more diverse and sophisticated in the past two years, as documented in Freedom House's 2011 'Freedom on the Net' report and elsewhere.

Somaliland: Concern over harassment of journalists


Reporters Without Borders has registered at least eight serious press freedom violations ranging from arbitrary arrest to shooting attacks on journalists in the past two months in the semi-autonomous northeastern region of Puntland and the breakaway northwestern territory of Somaliland. In most of these cases, there has been no investigation and no one has been punished.

Social welfare

South Africa: Shots fired over Cape housing development


Battles between backyarders and informal settlement residents over the allocation of houses at Makhaza’s Ithemba Labantu housing project in Cape Town flared up again last week, resulting in shots fired by a backyarder believed to be defending himself against attackers. According to residents of Khayelitsha K-Section informal settlement, which is in Makhaza and where the 163-unit project is being built, backyarder Thembalani Mpambaniso was attacked by residents of the informal settlement while he was visiting his girlfriend, who lives in the settlement.

Conflict & emergencies

DRC: 'At least 300,000 civilians have weapons in eastern DRC'


At least 300,000 Congolese civilians have weapons in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a report released by a research group in Brussels said on Monday. According to the report by the Group of Information and Research on Peace (GRIP), at least 80 per cent of men have weapons in the province of Kivu and Katanga. The investigators of GRIP questioned some 10,000 heads of families in these regions that are, or have been, the theatre of clashes between armed groups and the Congolese government forces.

Libya: Residents flee Sirte during lull in fighting


Hundreds of residents of Sirte are fleeing the coastal town after the National Transitional Council (NTC) announced a 48-hour suspension in fighting to capture toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi's hometown. A long queue of cars jammed the roads leading out of Sirte on Sunday as civilians sought to escape a worsening humanitarian situation in the town. Residents fleeing the town of around 100,000 say that those still trapped inside are running low on food and supplies.

Nigeria: Attack group rejects talks with government


A purported spokesman for a Nigerian Islamist sect blamed for scores of attacks, including last month's bombing of UN headquarters, has rejected a proposal to negotiate with the government. A spokesman for Boko Haram told journalists in a conference call in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, where the sect has carried out most of its attacks, that the group would push ahead with its violent campaign.

Nigeria: Many killed in raid on Nigerian village


A group of around 150 assailants have shot and hacked to death at least 19 people and seriously injured six people in a village in northwest Nigeria, police said. The attack took place on Saturday in Lingyado, in the state of Zamfara, which sits at the base of the Sahel where Africa's most populous nation borders Niger. Islamist sect Boko Haram has been blamed for scores of attacks in Nigeria's north, but there was so far no indication of the group's involvement in Saturday's raid.

South Sudan: Oil conflict threatens to break out


There have been recent clashes between the Sudanese army, Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, as well as fighting between communities along the border. 'One day the communities on the border may end up either facing genocide or there may be a very heavy war as the governments in both countries do not value the lives of the people but the resources they are sitting on. These resources will undermine the value of the lives of human beings,' Edmund Yakani, the coordinator for the local NGO Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO), told IPS.

Uganda: Tracking the LRA


Detailed updates about the activity of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) are now available in near real-time, thanks to a partnership between two US-based NGOs. The LRA Crisis Tracker, a joint venture between Invisible Children and Resolve provides data on attacks, killings, abductions, injuries and looting by the LRA, an insurgency that began in northern Uganda in the 1980s, whose fighters are now scattered across remote areas of South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. Data is published on the tracker's website as well as on social media such as Twitter and Facebook and via apps for iPad and iPhone.

Internet & technology

Global: Human rights online: New issues and threats


This Connect your Rights! policy issue paper from the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) outlines the state of human rights online and the major challenges facing activists and human rights defenders. As levels of censorship and surveillance are increasing worldwide, even in democratic countries, which threatens the work — and the lives — of human rights defenders, APC calls for a focus on human rights.

South Sudan: Google puts South Sudan on maps


Google has updated its maps to include the newly independent nation of South Sudan. The move follows a campaign by a South Sudanese journalist, who posted an online petition calling for the new nation to be marked on web maps. He said his country was still missing from websites including Microsoft, Yahoo! and National Geographic.

eNewsletters & mailing lists

INTERIGHTS Quarterly Update: Autumn 2011


The INTERIGHTS Quarterly Update is a regular email containing summaries of recent news, including updates on litigation, events and publications.

Fundraising & useful resources

Global: Filmmaking guide to success


First time author Nadia Denton presents in 'The Black British Filmmaker’s Guide to Success' a valuable resource that will enable film practitioners to achieve greater success with their endeavours. The Black British Filmmaker’s Guide to Success addresses the need for an up-to-date, practical resource that caters specifically for black content work.


Journal of Peasant Studies, Volume 38, Issue 4, 2011

Special Issue on New Frontiers of land control


This issue includes the following articles:

- Introductory essay, by Nancy Peluso and Christian Lund.
- Alice Kelley, UC Berkeley, Conservation Practice as Primitive Accumulation.
- Catherine Corson, Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, USA, Territorialization, Enclosure and Neoliberalism: Non-State Influence
in Struggles over Madagascar’s Forests.
- Nancy Peluso, UC Berkeley, Emergent Forest and Private Land Regimes in Java.

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